The new fad is the fast- but will it work?

February 20, 2013 BY: LISA

There is a new fad for weight loss which is preaching the benefits of fasting for 2 days and eating for 5 days. Weight loss is about eating less so assumedly if you are choosing a healthy diet for 5 days and then fasting for 2 days you will lose weight.  However, I think there are some assumptions being made and two important things are being forgotten:

1.       Human nature- Most of us find it difficult to maintain a healthy eating plan in the long term and now we need to fast on top of this?? We need to consider not only healthy eating but also human nature. There are a lot of psychological factors involved with weight loss. For a fasting devotee the two day fast is probably not an issue however for the rest of us the mind would start playing a few tricks. Here’s a few examples of what you may be saying to yourself:  “I’m going to eat a bit more today as I’m not eating tomorrow”, “I can have this cake today because I’m not eating tomorrow”, “I’m doing so well fasting I deserve a reward”, “I’m fasting, I’m going to take this opportunity to eat when I can!”

2.       Metabolism- Your basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy we use at rest, It is an  inherited characteristic however it is also affected by the amount of muscle or fat we have, by our age and our gender. Men usually have a higher metabolic rate as they have larger bodies. It is responsible for 50-80% of the energy we burn so if we do anything to decrease this we make weight loss harder. Crash dieting, starving or fasting can cause a 15% decrease in our basal metabolic rate as our body is trying to sustain it’s current weight on less fuel. It’s similar to what happens in your car- if you are going to run out of fuel the best thing is to drive slowly to the petrol station. Our bodies slow down the rate at which they use energy to compensate for the days we are without adequate fuel.

 Weight loss is one thing but weight maintenance at the end of the weight loss phase is actually what people who are looking for a weight loss option should be very interested in. Who wants to follow another weight loss diet, lose the weight but learn nothing about how to maintain their weight at the end?

Weight loss is not rocket science- nothing beats a healthy diet and regular exercise.  But it seems the more bizarre the practise suggested in these diets the more attractive it is to people as a weight loss solution. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet or potion or operation that will take away the need for good meal planning and regular exercise.

Overall, fasting and fad diets can lead to weight loss in the short term but what we see is an increase in weight when you finish. Weight maintenance does not have an end point- you need to be able to keep doing whatever you have been doing for the rest of your life. A good weight loss solution considers all phases of weight loss, not just the weight losing stage.

Talk to an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) today about your total weight loss solution.


Lisa (APD)



  1. I will right away take hold of your rss feed as I can not find your e-mail subscription
    hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly allow me recognise so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

    June 10th, 2013
  2. HI Hershel, the email sign up is on every page. Here’s the link to the blog page where you can sign up from.

    Lisa Renn
    March 25th, 2014

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